How to Read an Entry in this Dictionary


When you look in the dictionary, you will see many lines of words.  Some look similar to the example below:


        abad  n  stupid person abadiny /-iny


Here’s what the words mean:


  • The word abad in bold is called the ‘entry’.  All the words after it give information about this word.  All entries are listed according to the order of the Caning alphabet letters.  See the Caning Aphlabet Order below for the list of letters in order.  Entries that are nouns or adjectives are the singular (only one). Entries that are verbs are the incomplete form of the verb.
  • Next, the letter n in italics shows the word category (type of word) of the entry is a noun.  See the Word Category Abbreviations below for a list of all possible word category abbreviations.
  • Next, the words stupid person is the definition of the entry and shows its meaning in English.
  • The next word abadiny in bold is the plural of the entry. It is how to say more than one of the noun.  (Only entries that are nouns or adjectives have a plural.)
  • Next, /-iny shows the suffix (ending letters) of the plural.  When the letters come after the slash (/), it shows the suffix is attached to the plural, as /-iny in abadiny ‘stupid people’.  When the letters come before the slash, it shows the suffix is attached to the singular, as -ic/ in uxic ‘worm’.  Some nouns have suffixes before and after the slash, as -ic/-iny in winic ‘vulture’, wininy ‘bultures’.  See Suffixes of Singular and Plural Nouns below for a list of the most common suffixes.


Now look at another example entry.


adi  n 1) tradition, culture   2) taboo, unacceptable behaviour adidi /-di


  • adi is the entry and singular of the noun.
  • n shows the entry is a noun.
  • Next, we read 1) tradition, culture 2) taboo.  These are two definitions (meanings) of the entry.  1) tradition, culture is the most common meaning.  2) taboo, unacceptable behaviour is a less common meaning.
  • adidi is the plural of the entry.
  • /-di shows the suffix in the plural adidi.


Now look at another entry.


apadic  Bw {Arabic}  n  duck (bird type) apadiny -ic/-iny


  • The words Bw {Arabic} show this entry abadic is borrowed from Arabic. Other entries may be borrowed from English.


Now look at this entry.


amindä apang  n  boyfriend, fiancé (lit. friend of man) aminugä apanginy


  • The words (lit. friend of man) show the literal meaning of amindä apang.


Here are two other example entries.


me sed  (sed knot of rope) n  weaver menggä sed m/m

sed  knot of rope [me sed]


  • The words (sed knot of rope) show that sed is the root (original, simpler word), and that the entry me sed comes from sed.  It also shows you will find sed listed as another entry.
  • When you go to the entry sed, the word [me sed] is listed as a subentry between brackets [ ].  We donꞌt know the meaning of [me sed] by looking at the entry sed. To learn this, we must go to the entry me sed.


Here is another entry.


bälede  know bäli, kabäle


  • bälede is the entry.  It is an incomplete verb.
  • shows the part of speech of the entry is a transitive verb.
  • know is the definition.
  • bäli is the command of the verb, used when giving orders.
  • kabäle is the completive form of the verb. This form represents changes in subject prefixes for complete verbs. The prefix ka- on a complete verb in the dictionary shows there are the following other complete prefixes for that verb: ma- ‘he’, ca- ‘she’, nya- ‘it’, ka- ‘we (not you)’, sa- ‘they’.  The prefix - on a complete verb in the dictionary shows there are the following other complete prefixes for that verb: mägä- ‘he’, cägä- ‘she’, nyägä- ‘it’, wagä- ‘we (not you)’, sägä- ‘they’. See Different complete verb prefixes for more information.


Here is another entry.


paye  desire, want, like, love paya, käpay {gi mpaye}


  • paye is the entry and an incomplete verb.
  • shows it is a transitive verb.
  • desire, want, like, love is the definition.
  • paya is the command of the verb
  • käpay is the completive form of the verb.
  • {gi mpaye} is the incomplete verb form with subject pronoun gi ‘you (sg)’. This verb form represents changes that take place in the first consonant of the verb root for subject pronouns agä ‘I’, gi ‘you(sg)’ and angga‘you(pl)’ in both incomplete and complete forms, and for was ‘we (not you)’ in the incomplete form. (p becomes mp in this verb). See First root consonant changes for more information.


Here is one final entry.


lage1  wear laga, kälaga


  • There is a small number 1 after the entry lage1.  This means there is another word lage2 that has the same letters but a completely different meaning.  The word lage1 means ‘wear’ and lage2 means ‘hunt’.  The two words are not related, and just happen to have the same spelling.